PAWS? Or have I lost my mind? Panic attacks after 2 months.

Postby PhoenixRisingtw » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:39 pm

Kinda long post, TLDR at the end

Hey guys,

New user here. Registered so I can post this. I originally posted this at reddit leaves, but I'm posting here as well to get more insights.
I'm thankful for this two communities, without it, I would've had already lost it...


Never had any depression or anxiety before smoking.

I'm 26. I smoked for 5-6 years, basically every day. But took a lot of breaks, ranging from 1,2,3 months etc. My longest break was 6 month clean, this was my last and I got back into smoking when quarantine started. After 5 months or everyday use, I decided to quit again.

As you can see, I have a lot of experience with quitting (lul). But I never experienced any PAWS when I quit, withdrawal was always linear and even then very manageable after 2 weeks or so.

I used to quit after smoking way more than this time too. This period I would get really high from just a little so my tolerance and consumption definitely way lower than in the past.

The only possible explanation I have, which I think might be the cause for having PAWS this time and feeling like I lost my mind and not on previous quits, might be that this time I bought a vaporizer, which was really good/strong and was using only that to vape dry herb. In the past only joints/bongs. So my theory is that during all the years, my body got kinda used to the burning of the weed and all the chemicals. Now, when I was vaping, I wasn't “calibrated” for it, maybe some chemicals which would be burned otherwise were getting into me...


When I quit, I got one panic attack after 2 days, the next day pretty high anxiety, but got drunk at a party and it went away...this was all the withdrawal I got.

Then, at 1 month clean, PAWS set in (hope it's “just” PAWS) and I got a full blown panic attack out of nowhere, while mountain biking. It lasted like 24 hours. I even called 911. I was convinced I'm on some drugs which I took by accident (really weird but panic convinced me this was the case). This panic attack only went away the next day after I took some medication to calm down. I never use this type of stuff and was anxious/sceptical about it, but it helped. But the panic continued the next day and the next and eventually I went to ER and then talked to psychiatrist...

From that day, it's been massive withdrawal with the usual symptoms :
    panic attacks
    - anxiety
    - depression
    - fatigue
    - insomnia (waking up after falling asleep)
    - intrusive thoughts when falling asleep
    - nausea
    - dizziness
    - stomach issues
    - no appetite

This was really bad and lasted for week or so. Then it got better. Then got hit by another wave. Then better again etc.

Symptoms that I got on later waves:
    - derealization/depersonalization
    - brain fog
    - zoning out all day
    - anxiety attack after eating
    - visual snow (only had it once i read about it...)
    - feeling strange, not myself (like reality is different)
    - feels like I'm tripping on something
    - phantom highs (when exercising or walking)
    - health anxiety

I was actually getting better, less and less symptoms, anxiety went down etc.

But the last 10 days or so (I'm on day 64) I got hit with massive brain fog, like I'm high all the time, but without the positive feeling. Can't concetrate, I'm like on auto-pilot. This comes with DP/DR. Feeling like reality is not real, or that it's strange. Like I'm in the dream. I go for a walk where I went 1000 times and it feels like I'm there for the first time. It doesn't even feel like traditional brain fog at this point, but some different kind of haze, hard to describe.

This dissociaton/derealization/depersonalization is causing my panic attacks for the most part. I'm doing something and suddenly it feels like I'm tripping or that I'm stopping to exist and I will get a panic attack. I know that DPDR should be the SYMPTOM of anxiety, but it's this cycle for me. Anxiety->DPDR->anxiety/panic attack.

I'm really scared because after 2 months I would never get any withdrawal. Now I feel like I'm going crazy. Don't want to go SSRI route...

Yesterday I got 2 panic attacks and in the evening I felt literally high (not brain fog high, but actually stoned with all the good/chill/fuzzy feeling). Had red and glassy eyes and I could smell weed from my sweat as well lul...This sweat smell happened like 2 weeks ago when I got hit with “muscle soreness/fatigue/feeling like fever” PAWS wave.

Today I did intermitent fasting and felt a lot better, was productive around the house etc. But after I ate my first meal at 7pm I'm feeling high again, eyes even more red than yestreday (this doesn't bother me because again it feels like I literally smoked, it's not that fog/hazy/dark cloud over my head) I guess it would be a good thing because my body is flushing out THC, thus making me a little high? Maybe it's just placebo I don't know...

I should be moving to another country in 3 weeks (will be 3 months sober by then) cuz I found a job and I was actually really looking to moving and was happy about it, until PAWS/panic hit me. On one hand, it could be benefitial to clear my head in new city and country and be kept busy by work and everything new (even the psychiatrist thought so), but on the other hand, I don't know what I would do there with these symptoms...working every day/moving in a new place with strangers (I live alone now) and so on...

I'm basically not scared of the things themselves, but having panic attacks there, at at “inconvenient times” if you know what I mean.

I was looking forward to everything, but after that one panic attack that started my PAWS at 1 month sober, it feels like I've not been the same since.

If someone read the whole thing it's amazing. Hopefully you can relate to this...Did someone experience panic attacks after 2 months sober?

I just need to know I will be okay. I already know this logically, because I read so much, but logic doesn't apply with anxiety/DPDR/panic attacks and these 3 things are the worst symptoms. It almost feels like the longer I'm sober the weirder I feel mentally. I'm getting desperate...

TL;DR Smoked 5-6 years. Quit many times, never any serious withdrawal or paws. This time I'm f***ed up after 2 months (day 64 today). PAWS started at 1 month with all the usual symptoms, but anxiety/panic attacks/DPDR is the worst right now and I'm really getting desperate at this point. It seems like the longer I go sober, the weirder I feel...
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Postby Candid » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:46 pm

26? The way Things are, I feel deeply sorry for you.

If I were your age I'd be having panic attacks too.

Good news is, Aaaaaaah, bliss!
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Postby Brokethehabit » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:08 pm

Phoenix, I had a similar panic issue at this phase. It will pass.
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Postby tokes » Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:41 pm

I was in the same boat as you. Panic attacks lasted the best part of a year. But they do subside and ultimately dissappear, it's rarely a permanent life long condition. The longer you stay sober, the further down the road you'll go into not having one again.

Panic attacks do take it out of you, they're quite life altering but these temporary side effects will also subside over time. I thought I wouldn't be the same again and would always be stuck worrying about when the next one will hit but I don't feel that way anymore.

I've been clean for 2.8 years now and haven't had anything panic related for about a year or slightly more. I'm social, I see friends, I drink, I smoke cigs, I enjoy myself without any worries of that sh** hitting again.

Things that helped me while having one were to think a couple things like: this will pass, what I'm thinking right now is silly and I shouldn't let it effect me, everything's going to be ok.
In some extreme cases I would just say to myself: ok if I die right here right now, than that's it then, I'll just die. I'll take it like a man fall on my side and die. **** it.
I realised once I faced up to the irrational fear of dying during a panic attack the severity of it suddenly lessened. You can't be controlled by something you don't fear.

Other things that helped which I stated many times on this forum is:

- heavy weights protein shakes diets and creatine
- high protein low carb breakfast (suitable for anxiety sufferers)
- multi-vitamin tablets
- team sports
- gaming (online or offline)
- vaping CBD oil
- boxing or BJJ
- Jordan Peterson lectures YouTube

Good luck
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Postby Prycejosh1987 » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:38 pm

I do not think weed causes depression, depression is caused by mentality and negative insight, that grows as time goes on.
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Postby bawdyheated » Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:14 am

I am intrigue about this, from my experience I think this is something else.
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Postby kewoffit » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:02 am

You are inviting identy theft by allowing guest to post. Let guest read but not post until they resister. It should be as simply as pushing a button. I am rethinking my involvement and this risk. Terry Bankert
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